Anita Nugent

Tara Varnum , Contributor

Anita Sue Nugent is known around campus as one of the most dynamic teachers at the school. She keeps her life outside of school just about as interesting as her teaching methods.

Ms. Nugent teaches Physics, AP Physics, and Forensic Science at Santa Fe High. She also teaches Forensic Science at Santa Fe Community College.

“I didn’t originally choose to become a teacher,” Ms. Nugent said. “My goal was to become a biochemist and work on cancer research. My professor would not let me graduate unless I received a teaching certificate,” she explained. While Ms. Nugent said she was surprised that she had to get the certificate, she soon discovered that teaching was one of her passions.

Ms. Nugent was born in Port Arthur, Texas. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. “Beaumont is the first place where we got a gusher oil well,” she explained. “It shot oil 100 feet into the air and took nine days just to control it. Talk about pollution.”

Ms. Nugent first taught in Houston. She also taught dance for ten years. She earned her master’s degree from New Mexico Tech.

Although nowadays she teaches Physics, she has also taught Astronomy, Physical Science, and even English. “In 1986, St. Mike’s needed a Physics teacher, so I gave it a try,” she said. She found she really enjoyed it and transferred to Santa Fe High in 1989.

Outside of her teaching life, Ms. Nugent enjoys gardening, dance, travel, and other creative pursuits. “I would love to do eggery and to sew,” she added, “but I just don’t have the time.” (Eggery, she explained, is an art in which eggshells are turned into jewelry.) She will be traveling to Africa this year.

Ms. Nugent has two children, both of whom graduated from Santa Fe High. Her daughter is an elementary school teacher and her son is an attorney; both live in Alaska. She also has five “wonderful” grandkids. “The only bad thing is that they all live in Alaska,” she said.

Ms. Nugent has no plans to ever retire from teaching although parents and students often ask when she will retire. “There was a teacher in Florida who taught until she was 90, and they made her quit,” Ms. Nugent said with a laugh. “My goal is to beat her, and then possibly I will retire.”